Comprehensive Residential and Commercial Masonry Solutions
It is very common for masonry chimneys to exhibit signs of deterioration or damage, usually above the roof line.
Once the joints in the chimney cap degrade, or when the cap develops cracks, the integrity of the water-shedding function of the cap is compromised. This allows water to enter the chimney, and the freeze-thaw cycle will begin, causing the bricks or other masonry to spall (see "Spalling").
What to Look For:
- Chips and pieces of masonry that have fallen into the cleanout trap below the fireplace
- Water marks on the chimney, especially moisture after a rain
- Chalky white substance on chimney denotes moisture
- Leaks inside the home
- Spalling or mortar deterioration
- Cracks in the chimney cap (can often be detected from the ground)
- Broken flue sections, and any other cracked or spalling masonry
Although some chimneys may only need minimal maintenance, oftentimes it is important for a damaged chimney to be taken down and rebuilt. The masonry can be deteriorating from the inside, and flue sections may be cracked or broken and will need replacing.
If you have a woodburning appliance venting through the chimney, it is imperative to have the chimney repaired by a professional.
When a chimney is demolished and rebuilt, it is important to make sure that the flashing at the roof line is repaired as well.
While many masons attempt to reuse the existing flashing (often damaged from the demolition), RMR employs a professional roofing contractor to install new flashing and make sure everything is sealed up properly.
Metal Chimney Caps
A cement cap will have to be installed in pieces, which will require mortar joints that can deteriorate over a shorter period of time. Pouring a solid one-piece chimney cap is usually too expensive because it takes much more time to build the forms, pour, and return later to remove the form.
An aluminum cap will last indefinitely and will never crack. Therefore, a metal chimney cap will increase the longevity of your chimney. RMR will install concrete/stone caps, but a metal cap is always worth the extra cost.
Chimney repair comprises 65% of the work done by Reece Masonry & Restoration. Contact Ted Reece for a free estimate.
Spalling is the deterioration and chipping away of the face of the brick or other masonry unit. It is usually the result of the freezing and thawing of the moisture trapped under the surface, but it can also be due to mechanical defects such as incorrect use of mortar type, or the deterioration of the internal anchoring system.
Chimneys and brick window sills are notorious for spalling. This is usually caused by the cyclical freeze-thaw process.
Stone and Stone Veneer
Stone (4" Bed)
When people talk about 4" stone, they are referring to the depth of the stone—that is the measurement from the front of the face to the back side of the stone. Because of its bulky weight, this type of stone requires the proper foundation and footings prior to installation, which is why it is mainly used in new construction applications.
The stone can be natural or man-made, and it comes in all different shapes, colors, and sizes. Here are a couple of examples of 4" stone laid by Ted.
Stone veneer can also be either man-made (cultured stone) or natural, but the difference is the depth of the stone is only 1in. as opposed to 4.
The relatively lightweight stone veneer allows for a much simpler application. No footings are needed and the stone can be applied to a (properly prepared) plywood or cement board wall.
You can install stone veneer virtually anywhere on the interior or exterior of your home without the need for excavation and installation of footings. In many cases, stone veneers can look as natural and attractive as the real thing.
Concrete porch looking tired? Try flagstone. Flagstone offers a simple fix to your pitted, crumbling porch without the need to demolish the whole thing and start fresh.
Finding the Perfect Stone
You can find a wide variety of stone and stone veneer at Patene Building Supplies on Wilton Grove or at Ferrell Brick and Stone on Colonel Talbot Rd. S.
Both stores have a showroom, as well as take-home pamphlets, to assist in choosing the right stone for you.
New Homes & Additions
Reece Masonry and Restoration also will install a masonry façade on a newly built home or addition.
Window sills are designed to shed water. Bricks are not. Brick window sills are notorious for spalling (see "Spalling").
Concrete sills, however, are designed to shed water. They have a smooth surface and a drip edge underneath, which is used to keep water away from the wall below.
Replacing deteriorating brick sills with a new Indiana Limestone sill is commonly recommended unless preservation of architectural or historical integrity is desired.
Cracked or Deteriorated Mortar Joints
As a brick wall ages, deterioration can occur in the mortar joints between the bricks. Cracks due to settling, vibration, or water damage can appear.
If ignored, these cracks can leak and allow water to enter the home, causing mold growth, wood rot, and other water damage. In most cases, ignored cracks will lead to further damage to masonry walls (see "Spalling"), and eventually, the masonry will need to be replaced.
In many cases, repointing is a sound solution for cracked or deteriorated mortar joints. The damaged mortar is ground out using an angle grinder equipped with a 1/4 in. diamond blade to a depth of about 3/4 in.
This removes all loose and unwanted old mortar and gives the new mortar room to bond. Fresh mortar is then applied to the joint and tooled to a clean finish.
Parging is applying a very thin layer of mortar to a wall. It is used to cover up blemishes in concrete or block walls and to help promote weather resistance to above-ground parts of foundations.
However, parging does not age well in Canadian winters. You may notice chipping or cracking in the parging around your house. Reece Masonry & Restoration offers parging repair services. Contact Ted Reece if you have damaged parging.